Just before I moved to a new house a couple of months ago, I received a letter prompting me to book my cervical screening ‘smear’, test. It was filed away quite quickly and forgotten about. In the back of my head it was almost like an automatic action, but it wasn’t until cervical cancer prevention week I realised the dangers of this action.
My newsfeed this week is filling with those raising awareness of cervical cancer and taking part in Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust #SmearForSmear campaign.
Simple post a pic of you with a ‘smear’ and encourage others to go and have their screening. The trust surveyed 2017 women and found that 35% women have put of having their smear due to embarrassment, 26% have found it hard to make the appointment and 35% would not take the time of work.
35% of 2017 women not being checked for a cancel that is responsible for around 850 women’s deaths a year because of embarrassment.
We live in a society where we view anything to do with the vagina, yes, I said VAGINA is met with a prudish eye roll and a quick change of subject. Mention these two words to anyone and I can guarantee you will be greeted with a screwed up disgusted face; PERIOD BLOOD. It is only this year Bodyform changed the famous blue liquid to actual represent blood in their adverts for sanitary towels. However, this is a natural occurrence that happens to billions of women for many years of their lives, always has, always will so why the stigma?
In one of the wealthiest countries we face a crisis that has barely been spoken about but is in every classroom, period poverty. Again, much of it stemming from the stigma of embarrassment.
Maybe, after two kids (one cut and one 3a tear resulting in surgery) I am no longer embarrassed about my downstairs. I also say why the bloody hell should we be? Once you’ve seen one you’ve pretty much seen them all. Whoever is doing your smear probably even has one and yours is like the millionth one of the day she has seen. I have now made my appointment and there was no shame from my side or embarrassment making it. I doubt I will have even remembered to shave and likely have one or more kids in tow with me on the day too.
Because, that is why I am having my screening, why Elijah is part of my photo. Because it is easier not to go, to have to find childcare to book time of work, or begrudge having to go through the ritual of getting undressed and wondering WHERE THE HELL DO YOU PUT YOUR KNICKERS? But this saves lives. It means I will be doing the right thing for my boys, and also, I wrote this post to encourage others to book their smear, to take part in this amazing campaign which is raising awareness and saving lives.
Written By Vicki Cockerill - The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum